ODE FOR MUSIC.
PERFORMED AT THE THEATRE IN OXFORD, ON THE SECOND OF JULY, MDCCLI, BEING THE ANNIVERSARY APPOINTED BY THE LATE LORD CREW, BISHOP OF DURHAM, FOR THE COMMEMORATION OF BENEFACTORS TO THE UNIVERSITY.
1 WHERE shall the muse, that on the sacred shell
2 Of men in arts and arms renown'd
3 The solemn strain delights to swell;
4 O! where shall Clio chuse a race,
5 Whom fame with every laurel, every grace,
6 Like those of Albion's envied isle, has crown'd?
7 Daughter and mistress of the sea,
8 All-honour'd Albion, hail!
9 Where-e'er thy commerce spreads the swelling sail,
10 Ne'er shall she find a land like thee,
11 So brave, so learned, and so free;
12 All-honour'd Albion, hail!
13 But in the princely land of all that's good and great,
14 Would Clio seek the most distinguish'd seat,
15 Most blest, where all is so sublimely blest,
16 That with superior grace o'erlooks the rest,
17 Like a rich gem in circling gold enshrin'd;
18 Where Isis' waters wind
19 Along the sweetest shore
20 That ever felt fair Culture's hands,
21 Or Spring's embroider'd mantle wore,
22 Lo! where majestic Oxford stands;
23 Virtue's awful throne!
24 Wisdom's immortal source!
25 Thee well her best belov'd may boasting Albion own,
26 Whence each fair purpose of ingenuous praise,
27 All that in thought or deed divine is deem'd,
28 In one unbounded tide, one unremitted course,
29 From age to age has still successive stream'd;
30 Where Learning and where Liberty have nurst,
31 For those that in their ranks have shone the first,
32 Their most luxuriant growth of ever-blooming bays.
33 In ancient days, when she the queen endu'd
34 With more than female fortitude,
35 Bonduca led her painted ranks to fight;
36 Oft-times, in adamantine arms array'd,
37 Pallas descended from the realms of light,
38 Imperial Britonesse! thy kindred aid,[Page 237]
39 As once, all-glowing from the well-fought day,
40 The goddess sought a cooling stream,
41 By chance, inviting with their glassy gleam,
42 Fair Isis' waters flow'd not far away.
43 Eager she view'd the wave,
44 On the cool bank she bar'd her breast,
45 To the soft gale her locks ambrosial gave;
46 And thus the watry nymph addrest.
47 Hear, gentle nymph, whoe'er thou art,
48 Thy sweet refreshing stores impart:
49 A Goddess from thy mossy brink
50 Asks of thy crystal stream to drink:
51 Lo! Pallas asks the friendly gift;
52 Thy coral crowned tresses lift,
53 Rise from the wave, propitious power,
54 O listen from thy pearly bower!
55 Her accents Isis' calm attention caught,
56 As lonesome, in her secret cell,
57 In ever-varying hues, as mimic fancy taught,
58 She rang'd the many-tinctur'd shell:
59 Then from her work arose the Nais mild;
60 She rose, and sweetly smil'd
61 With many a lovely look,
62 That whisper'd soft consent:
63 She smil'd, and gave the Goddess in her flood
64 To dip her casque, tho' dy'd in recent blood;
65 While Pallas, as the boon she took,
66 Thus pour'd the grateful sentiment. [Page 238]
67 For this, thy flood the fairest name
68 Of all Britannia's streams shall glide,
69 Best favourite of the sons of fame,
70 Of every tuneful breast the pride:
71 For on thy borders, bounteous queen,
72 Where now the cowslip paints the green
73 With unregarded grace,
74 Her wanton herds where nature feeds,
75 As lonesome o'er the breezy reeds
76 She bends her silent pace;
77 Lo! there, to wisdom's goddess dear,
78 A far-fam'd city shall her turrets rear,
79 There all her force shall Pallas prove;
80 Of classic leaf with every crown,
81 Each olive, meed of old renown,
82 Each ancient wreath, which Athens wove,
83 I'll bid her blooming bowers abound;
84 And Oxford's sacred seats shall tower
85 To thee, mild Nais of the flood,
86 The trophy of my gratitude!
87 The temple of my power!
88 Nor was the pious promise vain;
89 Soon illustrious Alfred came,
90 And pitch'd fair Wisdom's tent on Isis' plenteous plain.
91 Alfred, on thee shall all the muses wait,
92 Alfred, majestic name!
93 Of all our praise the spring! [Page 239]
94 Thee all thy suns shall sing,
95 Deck'd with the marshal and the civic wreath;
96 In notes most awful shall the trumpet breathe
97 To thee, great Romulus of Learning's richest stare.
98 Nor Alfred's bounteous hand alone,
99 Oxford, thy rising temples own:
100 Soon many a man munificent,
101 The prince, the prelate, laurel-crown'd crowd,
102 Their ample bounty lent
103 To build the beauteous monument,
104 That Pallas vow'd.
105 And now she lifts her head sublime
106 Majestic in the moss of time;
107 Nor wants there Grecia's better part.
108 'Mid the proud piles of antient art,
109 Whose fretted spires, with ruder hand,
110 Wainfleet and Wickham bravely plann'd;
111 Nor decent Doric to dispense
112 New charms 'mid old magnificence;
113 And here and there soft Corinth weares
114 Her daedal coronet of leaves;
115 While, as with rival pride their towers invade the sky,
116 Radcliffe and Bodley seem to rye,
117 Which shall deserve the foremost place,
118 Or Gothic strength, or Attic grace.
119 O Isis! ever will I chant thy praise:
120 Not that thy sons have struck the golden lyre
121 With hands most skilful; have their brows entwin'd
122 With every fairest flower of Helicon,
123 The sweetest swans of all th' harmonious choir;
124 Have bad the musing mind
125 Of every science pierce the pathless ways,
126 And from the rest the wreath of wisdom won;
127 But that thy sons have dar'd to feel
128 For Freedom's cause a sacred zeal;
129 With British breast, and patriot pride,
130 Have still Corruption's cup defy'd;
131 In dangerous days untaught to fear,
132 Have held the name of honour dear.
133 But chief of this illustrious day,
134 The Muse her loudest Paeans loves to pay.
135 Ere while she strove with accents weak
136 In vain to build the lofty rhyme;
137 At length, by better days of bounty chear'd,
138 She dares unfold her wing.
139 Hail hour of transport most sublime!
140 In which, the man rever'd
141 Immortal Crew commands to sing,
142 And gives the pipe to breathe, the string to speak.
143 Blest prelate, hail!
144 Most pious patron, most triumphant theme!
145 From whose auspicious hand
146 On Isis' towers new beauties beam,
147 New praise her nursing fathers gain;
148 Immortal Crew!
149 Blest prelate, hail!
150 Ev'n now fir'd Fancy sees thee lead
151 To Fame's high-seated fane
152 The shouting band!
153 O'er every hallowed head
154 Fame's choicest wreaths she sees thee spread:
155 Alfred superior smiles the solemn scene to view;
156 And bids the Goddess lift
157 Her loudest trumpet to proclaim,
158 O Crew! thy consecrated gift,
159 And echo with his own in social strains thy name.